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The basic premise of applied psychology is the use of psychological principles and theories to overcome problems in other areas, such as mental health, business management, education, health, product design, ergonomics, and law. Applied psychology includes the areas of:
- Clinical psychology,
- Consumer psychology
- Community psychology
- Educational psychology
- Engineering psychology
- Environmental psychology
- industrial/organizational psychology,
- Military psychology
- Political psychology
- Social psychology
- Sports psychology
In addition, a number of specialized areas in the general field of psychology have applied branches (e.g., applied social psychology, applied cognitive psychology).
One founder of applied psychology was Hugo Munsterberg. The German man came to America originally studying philosophy similar to most aspiring psychologists during the late 1800’s. Munsterberg had many interests in the field of psychology such as, purposive psychology, social psychology and forensic psychology. In 1907 he wrote several magazine articles concerning legal aspects of testimony, confessions and courtroom procedures, which eventually developed into his book, On the Witness Stand. The following year the Division of Applied Psychology was adjoined to the Harvard Psychological Laboratory. Within 9 years he had contributed eight books in English, applying psychology to education, industrial efficiency, business and teaching. Eventually Hugo Munsterberg and his contributions would define him as the creator of Applied Psychology.
Clinical psychology[edit | edit source]
Clinical psychology includes the study and application of psychology for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development. Central to its practice are psychological assessment and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists may also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. Some clinical psychologists may focus on the clinical management of patients with brain injury—this area is known as clinical neuropsychology. In many countries clinical psychology is a regulated mental health profession.
The work performed by clinical psychologists tends to be done inside various therapy models, all of which involve a formal relationship between professional and client—usually an individual, couple, family, or small group—that employs a set of procedures intended to form a therapeutic alliance, explore the nature of psychological problems, and encourage new ways of thinking, feeling, or behaving. The four major perspectives are Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, Existential-Humanistic, and Systems or Family therapy. There has been a growing movement to integrate these various therapeutic approaches, especially with an increased understanding of issues regarding culture, gender, spirituality, and sexual-orientation. With the advent of more robust research findings regarding psychotherapy, there is growing evidence that most of the major therapies are about of equal effectiveness, with the key common element being a strong therapeutic alliance. Because of this, more training programs and psychologists are now adopting an eclectic therapeutic orientation.
Clinical psychologists do not usually prescribe medication, although there is a growing movement for psychologists to have limited prescribing privileges. In general, however, when medication is warranted many psychologists will work in cooperation with psychiatrists so that clients get all their therapeutic needs met. Clinical psychologists may also work as part of a team with other professionals, such as social workers and nutritionists.
Industrial and organizational[edit | edit source]
Industrial and organizational psychology focuses to varying degrees on the psychology of the workforce, customer, and consumer, including issues such as the psychology of recruitment, selecting employees from an applicant pool which overall includes training, performance appraisal, job satisfaction, work behavior, stress at work and management.
Career counseling is another aspect of counseling closely related to Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Counselors in this field assist clients in a variety of settings ranging from schools to vocational to organization sites to name a few. One of the main goals of the profession is to help clients realize their talents and dreams in response to a career and help them create successful job skills to then apply to their career search. Many times career counselors act as consultants to companies, other times they work as a team in academic and career counseling capacities, and other times they work for a social service agency specifically working with people who need assistance in the job search process.
Generally a master’s degree is needed to get into the field. As there are not many career counseling master’s programs, many enter the field with a degree in mental health counseling or community counseling.
Since jobs are such defining experiences for people, having the ability to gain helpful insight, tips, and encouragement from career counselors is a definite benefit. The career counseling field can only increase in popularity as people on average change jobs every ten years, instead of 30 years ago where many people stayed with the same company the majority of their working career.
Forensic psychology and legal psychology[edit | edit source]
Forensic psychology and legal psychology are the area concerned with the application of psychological methods and principles to legal questions and issues. Most typically, forensic psychology this involves a clinical analysis of a particular individual and an assessment of some specific psycho-legal question. Legal psychology refers to any application of psychological principles, methods or understanding to legal questions or issues. In addition to the applied practices, legal psychology also includes academic or empirical research on topics involving the relationship of law to human mental processes and behavior.
The use of forensic psychology dates back to the late 1800’s when two physicians were investigating the crime scene of Jack the Ripper. These doctors were concerned with his personality characteristics and used clues to get into the mind of the murderer. A decade later a system known as profiling became the known name for this type of investigation. The “Son of Sam” was researched by an agent who used other killer’s profiles to determine where these acts were coming from. Questions concerning family, education, background and behavior were derived from the forensic profiling. This is another form of psychology and a way for FBI agents to prevent murders or find criminals. With this psychological research we are able to divide murders into two forms; disorganized, meaning the offender does not plan or premeditated, where the offender does plan. Personality plays a big role in figuring out the minds of mass murderers.
Health psychology[edit | edit source]
Health psychology concerns itself with understanding how biology, behavior, and social context influence health and illness. Health psychologists generally work alongside other medical professionals in clinical settings, although many also teach and conduct research. Although its early beginnings can be traced to the kindred field of clinical psychology, four different approaches to health psychology have been defined: clinical, public health, community and critical health psychology. Health psychologists also aim to change health behaviors for the dual purpose of helping people stay healthy and helping patients adhere to disease treatment regimens. Cognitive behavioral therapy and behavior modification are techniques often used for this purpose.
Human factors[edit | edit source]
Human factors is the study of how cognitive and psychological processes affect our interaction with tools and objects in the environment. The goal of research in human factors is to understand the limitations and biases of human mental processes and behavior.
School Psychology[edit | edit source]
School Psychology is a field that applies principles of clinical psychology and educational psychology to the diagnosis and treatment of students' behavioral and learning problems. School psychologists are educated in child and adolescent development, learning theories, psychological and psychoeducational assessment, personality theories, therapeutic interventions, special education, psychology, consultation, child and adolescent psychopathology, and the ethical, legal and administrative codes of their profession.
According to Division 16 (Division of School Psychology), of the American Psychological Association (APA) school psychologists operate according to a scientific framework. They work to promote effectiveness and efficiency in the field. School psychologists conduct psychological assessments, provide brief interventions, and develop or help develop prevention programs. Additionally, they evaluate services with special focus on developmental processes of children within the school system, and other systems, such as families. School psychologists consult with teachers, parents, and school personnel about learning, behavioral, social, and emotional problems. They may teach lessons on parenting skills (like school counselors), learning strategies, and other skills related to school mental health. In addition, they explain test results to parents and students. They provide individual, group, and in some cases family counseling (State Board of Education 2003; National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education, n.d.). School psychologists are actively involved in district and school crisis intervention teams. They also supervise graduate students in school psychology. School psychologists in many districts provide professional development to teachers and other school personnel on topics such as positive behavior intervention plans and achievement tests.
School psychologists are influential within the school system and are frequently consulted to solve problems. Practitioners should be able to provide consultation and collaborate with other members of the educational community and confidently make decisions based on empirical research.
Sport psychology[edit | edit source]
Sport psychology is a specialization within psychology that seeks to understand psychological/mental factors that affect performance in sports, physical activity and exercise and apply these to enhance individual and team performance. It deals with increasing performance by managing emotions and minimizing the psychological effects of injury and poor performance. Some of the most important skills taught are goal setting, relaxation, visualization, self-talk awareness and control, concentration, using rituals, attribution training, and periodization. The principles and theories may be applied to any human movement or performance tasks (e.g., playing a musical instrument, acting in a play, public speaking, motor skills). Usually, experts recommend that students be trained in both kinesiology (i.e., sport & exercise sciences, physical education) and counseling.
Additional areas[edit | edit source]
- Counseling psychology
- Ecological psychology
- Forensic psychology,
- School psychology,
- Traffic psychology
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- American Psychological Association, Division 12, "About Clinical Psychology"
- Brain, Christine. (2002). Advanced psychology : applications, issues and perspectives. Cheltenham : Nelson Thornes. ISBN 0174900589>
- Leichsenring, Falk & Leibing, Eric. (2003). The effectiveness of psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of personality disorders: A meta-analysis. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(7), 1223-1233.
- Reisner, Andrew. (2005). The common factors, empirically validated treatments, and recovery models of therapeutic change. The Psychological Record, 55(3), 377-400.
- Klusman, Lawrence. (2001). Prescribing Psychologists and Patients' Medical Needs; Lessons From Clinical Psychiatry. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 32(5), 496.
- APA, Division 38. What a Health Psychologist Does and How to Become One. Retrieved 03-04-2007.
- Marks, D.F., Murray, M. et al. (2005). "Health Psychology: Theory, Research & Practice." London, England : Sage Publications. ISBN 141290336X
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